Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sepia Saturday 72 : Marie Sans Chemise


A clock with connections to the First World War was the Archive Image introducing this weeks' Sepia Saturday and I have decided to follow the theme by posting another clock with wartime connections. The image is from a postcard that is part of my collection, a postcard which was never posted, but does have a name penciled upon it, that of a certain Miss W Willby. I suspect that the card was bought during the First War - Amiens featured prominently in the campaigns and hosted hundreds of thousands of Allied troops - but why it was not sent we will never know.

The magnificent clock was constructed in the 1880s, the gift of the Mayor of Amiens, Louis Dewally. It was erected close to the railway station so that the citizens would never again be late for their trains. At the base of the iron column, the sculptor Albert Roze fashioned a magnificent reclining nude in bronze. It is said that the statue shocked some local citizens - I can hardly believe this as it is France not West Yorkshire - but it soon became a famous feature of the city and was christened "Marie Sans Chemise".

During the Second World War the statue and clock were taken down in order to protect them from damage, but in the chaos that followed the end of the war, they mysteriously vanished and were never seen again. To mark the Millennium, the City Council commissioned a copy of both the clock and statue and they now can be found in area of the Cathedral. So, in Amiens, time was lost but later found again.

This is a SEPIA SATURDAY post. You can enjoy all the other contributions to Sepia Saturday 72 by following the links on the Sepia Saturday Blog.

23 comments:

  1. Far too ostentatious - a bit like Diana's wedding dress.

    Brit clocks are more understated, like Kate's wedding dress.

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  2. CB : You old fashionista, you.

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  3. I like the idea of time being lost - and found again. I wonder what those children made of the lady sans chemise. Being French they probably took it all in their stride.

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  4. Hmmmmm... I guess somebody wanted to add Shirtless Mary to their personal collection and took advantage of the opportunity.

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  5. Voluptuous when enlarged!

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  6. Very interesting little tale write
    I wonder what ever happened to the orginal ones that seem to have been swallowed up by the night

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  7. Hm. Hard to imagine a clock that size resting sedately in the corner of someone's foyer.

    I must say, I'm quite impressed that someone was able to reconstruct something which had as much incredible detail work as the original piece had.

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  8. Oh what a magnificent tribute to time. I too cannot imagine where it went, way too large for a hallway. Replacement was worth the effort.

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  9. Oh absolutely a beauty for sure! I always enjoy CB's comments too and his view on clock vs. dress pretty much right on...but from some of the views I've seen of Kate she appears much like Diana in so many ways!

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  10. It seems strange to me that a nude woman was used as a prominent element.

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  11. Oh la la, c'est trés beau Alan.

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  12. A clock that does not tell time as much as shout it. This is before the days of electric atomic clocks, imagine the man whose job was to wind it every week.

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  13. What a postcard! I want it!

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  14. i like it, fancy work, bare breasts and all.

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  15. The two young boys at the foot of the clock look like they're posing. Do you think there's a photographer opposite trying to take their picture?
    Nancy
    Ladies of the grove

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  16. One of the lads looks as though he's wearing her chemise. The more modern photo makes the square look far more open, and somewhat less peopled.

    Strangely enough, when hunting for an image to post this week, I was considering two postcards sent home by my grandfather while on a post-Great War visit to Amiens! They will have to wait for another suitable prompt.

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  17. How do you lose a clock that big?

    Someone has it in their basement for sure.

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  18. Any theories as to the fate of the original clock, Alan?

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  19. How On Earth Can You Lose Such A Big Statue!!!!!

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  20. this piece certainly has some pizzaz. but to think that the original has been stolen is beyond me. i guees some private collector fell in love with Mary Shirtless...
    :D~
    HUGZ

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  21. OK Alan, we're leaving it up to you to find that clock! Its surely got to be somewhere ...even if only in bits? how odd. What a lovely sepia image though from days past.

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  22. Great postcard & an interesting tale--just what I'd expect!

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  23. I like the idea of finding time, but not losing it. Wouldn't it be amazing if the original clock and statue eventually turned up?!

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